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American wrestler Tamira Mensah-Stoke wrapped up her first Olympics in dominant style on Tuesday, winning the gold medal in the women’s 68kg freestyle final. She is only the second woman – and the first black woman – to win Olympic wrestling gold for the United States.
Top seed Minsah-Stoke defeated second seed Blessing Oborududu 4-1 after capturing the points twice in the first half. None of the athletes scored a point in the second half despite Oborududu’s increasingly desperate attempts.
Both athletes make history
By winning the silver medal, Oborududu became the first Nigerian athlete to win an Olympic medal in wrestling.
After the match, Mensah-Stoke, 28, commented on the historical elements of her final with Oborududu.
Mensah Stock said, “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, look at us acting out'” Associated Press. “It’s so amazing. You make history, I make history. We make history. So that meant a lot.”
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She also spoke about her desire to inspire black girls to pursue wrestling and her family’s legacy in Ghana, where her father is from. Mensah-Stoke lost her father when she was in high school — he died in a car accident returning home from a wrestling encounter, according to USA team.
“It could have been louder here,” she said. “He would be very proud.”
Feelings were deeply affected by the win
Minsah-Stoke waved her hands in a heart-shaped gesture right after her win, and smiled and bowed to the small crowd at the Makuhari Messe Hall outside Tokyo. She then hugged her coaches and grabbed a large American flag, which she raised high above her head.
Several times on the carpet and on the podium, tears erupted from Forsa Stoke.
“I feel very happy and constantly try not to cry, but it happens constantly,” she said, according to a statement from Team USA. “I just want to go into a dark room and cry, but I cry with joy.”
Mensah Stoke defeated a brutal tie
To reach the final, Minsah-Stoke, of Katy, Texas, worked her way through a tough tie.
Her first match was against Japan’s Sarah Dosho – 2016 Olympic gold medalist and 2017 world champion. Then she moved to China’s Feng Zhou, who Surprise win against Mensah-Stoke in early 2020. Both elite opponents failed to score a point against the American in Japan, who beat them 10-0.
In the semi-final match, Minsah-Stoke faced another former world champion Alla Cherkasova of Ukraine. Coming late, she recovered late to win 10-4.
The gold medal culminates in a long-running quest for Minsah Stock, who finished first in the US Olympic team tests prior to the Rio Olympics but was unable to compete because the United States did not qualify to earn a place in her weight class. I traveled to Brazil for the Games but only as a training partner.
It’s the US women’s second medal in Tokyo, and comes a day after five-time world champion Adeline Gray won silver in the 76kg category. Helen Maroulis, who won her first USA women’s wrestling gold medal in 2016, is scheduled to wrestle late Wednesday morning (local time) in Japan.